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Top stories of 2022: Australia

ARC grant rows, new ministers and more—the biggest Australian research stories of the year

In 2022, trouble for the Australian Research Council was behind many of our most-read Australian news. But new ministers, new centres and new systems for research also change the landscape.

Selected by our news team, these are the Research Professional News stories that defined Australian research this year.

1. Backlash over blocked ARC grants heats up (17 January)

Outrage in the research community at the blocking of six Australian Research Council grants by acting education minister Stuart Robert is continuing to build. 

2. New frontbenchers to tackle Australia’s research issues 
(1 June)

The new Australian government has appointed fresh faces to key ministries for the research and science sector.

3. Australian research offices complain of Nit-picking woes 
(17 August)

Researchers and research managers have expressed concern about how the Australian Research Council’s National Interest Test is being administered.

4. First Australian ‘trailblazer’ universities announced (25 April)

The first two “trailblazer” universities to share in a A$242 million commercialisation programme will be Curtin University and the University of Adelaide, with four more to come.

5. Universities welcome Australian budget (26 October)

Funding for 20,000 new university places is the biggest win for higher education in Australia’s latest budget

6. Researchers ask ‘what next’ as Era process is halted 
(7 September)

The “halt” in the Excellence in Research for Australia rankings has left researchers wondering how their work will be assessed.

7. NHMRC pauses grant over gender equity concerns (13 April)

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council has announced a five-month delay to a grant programme, in order to investigate whether women’s health proposals are fairly evaluated.

8. Double ARC grant announcement surprises researchers 
(16 September)

The second round of Australian Research Council grants released within a week has taken researchers by surprise.

9. Minister announces review of Australian Research Council 
(11 July)

The Australian Research Council’s “governance and reporting” is to undergo an independent review, education minister Jason Clare has said. 

10. Research council reveals next centres of excellence 
(7 November)

Carbon science, quantum biotechnology and violence against women are among the research fields to be covered by the latest round of the Australian Research Council’s Centres of Excellence programme.